In this episode of POTENTIALS . . . Envisioning the New Millennium, host Barbara Marx Hubbard goes deep in conversation with the legendary editor & author to explore the power of belief. Connections between mind and body are discussed in reference to Cousins seminal book Anatomy of an Illness, which helped to usher in the holistic health revolution. Cousins longstanding leadership as a global peacemaker is explored as well as envisioning a world within which peace and mutual respect could exist amongst all people & nations. This episode is deeply inspiring and hopeful.
Norman Cousins was born on June 24, 1915, in Union Hill, New Jersey. Norman attended teachers college at Columbia University. Norman then went on to lead an illustrious career as the longtime editor of the Saturday Review. During his lifetime Cousins fended off a life threatening disease and a massive coronary, both times using his own regimen of nutritional and emotional support systems as opposed to traditional methods of treatment.
Cousins is often described as the man who laughed his way to health, a simplified explanation of the controversial healing method the author/editor employed when he was diagnosed in the mid-1960s as having ankylosing spondylitis. The degenerative disease causes the breakdown of collagen, the fiberous tissue that binds together the bodys cells. Almost completely paralyzed, given only a few months to live, Cousins ordered himself checked out of the hospital. He moved into a hotel room and began taking extremely high doses of vitamin C and also exposed himself to equally high doses of humor.
Slowly Norman regained use of his limbs. As his condition steadily improved over the following months, Cousins resumed his busy life, eventually returning to work full-time at the Saturday Review. Cousins detailed his journey in Anatomy of an Illness.
In December, 1980, some fifteen years after winning his bout with ankylosing spondylitis, Cousins suffered a near-fatal heart attack while teaching in California. As before, he made his body a personal laboratory. He refused morphine, changed his visiting schedule to ensure rest, and gradually improved. Cousins once again published his findings in The Healing Heart for millions to learn from and enjoy.
Norman Cousins died in November, 1990. Norman Cousins led an extraordinary life. He received hundreds of awards including the Peace Medal from the United Nations. Cousins received nearly fifty honorary doctorate degrees and served as a diplomat during three presidential administrations. Cousins spent his lifetime challenging the odds.